Download PDF by Joel Robbins: Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua

By Joel Robbins

ISBN-10: 0520237994

ISBN-13: 9780520237995

ISBN-10: 1417545305

ISBN-13: 9781417545308

In a global of fast and sweeping cultural adjustments, few have noticeable alterations as swift and dramatic as these skilled by means of the Urapmin of Papua New Guinea within the final 4 many years. A distant humans by no means at once "missionized," the Urapmin started within the Nineteen Sixties to ship younger males to review with Baptist missionaries residing between neighboring groups. by way of the past due Seventies, the Urapmin had gone through a charismatic revival, leaving behind their conventional faith for a Christianity intensely excited by human sinfulness and pushed by way of a continuing experience of millennial expectation. Exploring the Christian tradition of the Urapmin, Joel Robbins indicates how its preoccupations offer keys to realizing the character of cultural switch extra in most cases. In so doing, he bargains one of many richest to be had anthropological debts of Christianity as a lived faith. Theoretically bold and engagingly written, his e-book opens a special viewpoint on a Melanesian society, spiritual adventure, and the very nature of quick cultural change.

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Extra resources for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)

Example text

They did not adopt Christianity in bits and pieces seized upon as syncretic patches for a traditional cultural fabric worn thin in spots by their attempts to stretch it to fit new situations. Rather, they took it up as a meaningful system in its own right, one capable of guiding many areas of their lives. That is to say, change in Urapmin was not a matter, as so much contemporary anthropology expects, of a traditional culture assimilating a new one and constructing in the process a hybrid entity that is either still largely traditional or else different from both of its starting points.

Yet in Urapmin, the colonial and postcolonial eras have led to very little in the way of socioeconomic change. With the exception of two men who have spent the last ten years working in unskilled positions in Tabubil, a mining town in the Min region, all Urapmin make their way through life as subsistence gardeners. 1 Hence the “infrastructure” of Urapmin life hardly changed at all during the period that saw their rapid and thorough turn to Christianity. Indeed, if you went to Urapmin and did not listen to what people said but only watched what they did (and if in doing so you ignored the obviously Christian rituals they performed), Urapmin life in the early 1990s would look for all the world like it fit the stereotype of traditional Papua New Guinea village life.

It also ensured that in spatial terms the Telefomin station would become a central place in the region. The importance of Telefomin in the emerging colonial spatial order rendered the Urapmin peripheral to that order in a way they had never been to the traditional one. Although they share the Ifitaman valley with the Telefolmin, because the Urapmin lacked (and still lack) an airstrip they quickly became more marginal than many other, more distant groups to what went on at the Telefomin station. Tucked away in their corner of the valley, the Urapmin are segregated from Telefomin by the Sepik River gorge.

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Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4) by Joel Robbins


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